By 1996, guitar solo-heavy instrumental albums were looked down upon by the majority of rock fans -- as many had moved on to focusing on artists who put the importance of songwriting over shredding. However, you have to give Tony MacAlpine credit -- he didn't stray too far from his prior musical path on his solo release that year, Violent Machine. Featuring plenty of MacAlpine's six-string heroics, Violent Machine easily could have been released in 1989, and probably would have done battle with Flying in a Blue Dream in Guitar World magazine's year-end poll -- as evidenced by such selections as the album-opening title track, plus "Shoe Shine Cyber Boy" and "Mr. Destructive." But unlike many of the other similarly styled guitarists that MacAlpine has been compared to over the years, he is also a highly skilled pianist, and listeners get a glimpse of this on "Chopin Etude #12 Opus 10." And there are also a few other non-metal detours along the way, including the jazzy melodicism of "Sophisticated Domination," as well as the almost new age-ish "Carolina Blue." With Violent Machine, MacAlpine proved once and for all that he was sticking to his stylistic guns.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato